SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Iowa State Patrol has created their first ever summer internship program to help show interested students how rewarding a career in law enforcement can be. 

Kayla Werneburg is the first-ever police science student at Western Iowa Tech Community College. She says she’s wanted to be a part of law enforcement since she was only 16-years-old. Now she gets to make her dreams a reality working with the Iowa State Patrol this summer. 

“I just felt like I needed to. It was my calling per-say that I wanted to be in law enforcement. I looked into other professions but nothing screamed at me like law enforcement,” said Werneburg.  

The Iowa State Patrol’s first-ever summer internship program allows 14 students, one in every district in Iowa, to gain this hands-on experience. 

“We’re very proud that she has taken what we have done in the classroom and what we have done outside the classroom with community service projects and were pretty proud of her,” said Police Science Instructor Gary Powell. 

“Give them a real-life atmosphere of what goes on not only with the state patrol but the entire public safety which would be the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Division of Narcotic Enforcement, and the Fire Marshal Division,” said Kyle Haack Sergent Iowa State Patrol.

Werneburg will be a part of Sergent Haack’s team in Cherokee County. The office is eager to have more women interested in a career with the Iowa State Patrol. 

“It’s a great opportunity for Mrs. Werneburg to get into this program because the state patrol is looking to possibly hire more females and [to get] females to get into law enforcement,” said Sergent Haack. 

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, there are over 8,000 law enforcement officers in Iowa but only 434 are women.

“I feel like we can do anything like anyone else does, like no one should be scared to do law enforcement just because they are a woman. They should do their own thing and be that strong woman that they are,” said Werneburg. 

While the state patrol hopes to encourage more women to become officers, they also want to inspire everyone to start a career in law enforcement. This is the main goal behind the new internship program.